I had the opportunity to talk with Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Kelly Burke at a town hall meeting here on the south suburbs this morning. I wanted to ask them about their position on possible future cuts to the pension system, given that all of the corporate special interests have stated that complete elimination of the pension systems is what is necessary if Illinois is to survive. I also wanted to ask them about the system of corporate welfare in the state and what they are specifically doing to push for a progressive tax in Illinois. Mind you, both of these are Democrats that are routinely endorsed by the IEA.
Senator Cunningham, said to me that he will carefully consider proposals to reform the pensions of City of Chicago workers.
“Don’t you have members of your family that are teachers in Chicago?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said.
“You would vote to cut their pension?” I asked.
“I will be taking a close look at the bill.” he replied.
He also indicated that while the believes that the Senate supports a progressive income tax, the House is far from supporting the idea.
Representative Burke, was adamant about the fact that projections she has been studying with respect to a progressive income tax indicate that there would be no new significant revenue generated with a progressive income tax.
“Haven’t you looked at Ralph Matire’s framework?” I asked her.
“His projections are way too optimistic.” she stated.
“Then how do you propose to fix Illinois fiscal condition? I asked
She then stated that the legislature is requesting to see other models from different groups. I took this to mean that she was not in favor of a progressive tax at this time. And then she explain to me the merits of “shared sacrifice” and that I have come to her with pre-conceived notions of what the problems are with Illinois fiscal condition. I was truly shocked by her ability to talk through me and I cannot begin to express how angry I was when she spoke to me this way.
This sent my train of thought way off mark and I wish I would have been smarter to respond back to her. Instead, I held back for fear I would say something to her far from respectful in tone.
Why is she endorsed by IEA? What work has IPACE done to be convince that she deserves our support?
In general, I walked away with these impressions:
1. There will not be a progressive tax in Illinois for a very long time if the attitude in Springfield in anyway reflects the beliefs of these two so-called Democrats.
2. Additional reforms to our pension benefits are fair game. A court decision that favors Senate Bill 1 will open the door, wide-open, to additional cuts to our benefits.
3. Nobody in Springfield thinks for themselves. These two are perfect examples. They are waiting to be told by great forces, whoever those forces may be (Madigan, Cullerton, special interests) to put a bill in front of them so they can choose to vote yes or no.
– Jerry More…